Here at Kids Can Ride we’re not only excited about the growth in kids snowboarding but also about the growth in the availability and quality of kids equipment.
So we were stoked to find out about the rise of a few, kid focused brands. One of these brands is UK based JACK snowboards. We caught up with, Shaun, the head honcho at JACK to find out why he started creating boards with the new generation of rippers in mind…
JACK Snowboards have recently started making kid specific snowboards with steezy art and a high spec – they’re made to order & hand crafted with locally sourced materials …Sounds good right?
Check out Shaun’s answers to our questions about what JACK snowboards are all about…
So, Shaun, how long have JACK snowboards been running?
JACK Snowboards was launched last September to the public, although we have been working on the brand/ideas for the last 18 months.
What was the inspiration behind starting the brand?
The Inspiration for JACK Snowboards came from me wanting to take a career path change that would initially involve working with or doing something for kids.
During this time snowboarding was just starting to take hold for kids here in the UK and I began to see the start of the rising grom scene in my hometown.
With the introduction of lowering the teaching age from 7 down to 4 years old at our local indoor slope, I introduced my daughter Daisy, aged 5, to snowboarding. She was showing awesome progress at a rapid rate, but could I find a suitable board with sick graphics …Hell No!
Being a very creative person I knew I could create some sick designs for kids and thought how awesome would it be to have the boards made right here in the UK.
Here enters Douk Snowboards, masters of the finest hand crafted snowboards. The company initially only made adult snowboards; however, this was all about to change!
What made you decide to focus on kids’ boards and have a large range?
I wanted to offer a range of designs that would not only put very young kids feet onto boards, but also reflect what other age groups would want from a board design.
The very first board you purchase for your little shredder should be an awesome piece that they will treasure for life.
Initial research and feedback told us that whilst there were some very good boards on the market, there wasn’t a board that ticked every box; from the technical side, to the design, size etc. something along the line let them down.
Why should kids, no matter what their ability or dreams of progressing in the sport, have to compromise. This is where Jack snowboards step up – producing suitable show stopping products just like the kids idols ride.
What sizes are your kids boards?
We currently provide an 80 cm, 90 cm, 100 cm, 110 cm 115 cm and 120 cm and 130 cm + range. But we can produce any size requested and if demand is there then we will look to add other sizes in the very near future.
What makes your boards special?
The first unique selling point is the fact that all of boards are manufactured right here in the UK using locally sourced wood, each and every board adult and kids, is carefully hand crafted by the finest snowboard craftsmen at Douk snowboards. The manufacturing costs are of course a lot higher, and yes we could quite easily half our costs by going to, dare I say it, China / Asia, but our hearts were set on a British made product because we believe we can go head to head with the world’s best and in particular with our kids range.
Secondly are our designs, many are hand drawn and so much thought has gone into each and every design, we know we have the boards, so our designs have to be strong. There are lots of different design elements that go into every board, whether it be pop art inspired, freehand or more technical, right down to the colour elements, styles and shadings!!
Who designs your board graphics, any favourites?
The design ideas all come from myself but the credit for the amazing art work falls to the very talented Richard Taylor of Black Fabric.
I off-load many pieces of scribbled ideas from my head to him, and 9 times out of 10 Richard nails it first time for me with an amazing design.
My favourite graphic has to be the yeti, he is super cute, and we are currently working on the girlfriend! My thoughts behind creating these characters is that firstly, I hope they will appeal to the very youngest of shredders and that they will connect easily with either character. Also further down the line once we are more established they will become mascots for the Brand at events that kids can engage with.
Do you have a team? Any ripppers we need to keep an eye out for?
As we are a very new brand to the market and the snowboarding world in general we first needed time to establish and grow; it was not top of our priority list to start sponsoring or putting together a team of riders until we knew 100% that we had the very best product to offer in terms of specification and graphics.
However, within weeks of launching, following an ad campaign run with the help of the guys at Mobile Media (www.mobilemedia.co.uk), we were inundated with responses from young Groms excited by our ethos and vision of the young shred scene and eager to see if our boards were really as good as we said! And of course wanting sponsorship! Responses came from not only the UK, but also from across Europe and even America.
One grom really stood out for us, a 4 year old little boy called Travis Henderson.
Wow, this kid is seriously talented and we believed he will be the UK`s next big future prospect. With a host of top name sponsors already to his name, we feel very privileged and and honoured to have Travis on board for our brand.
He will become a world star in the future without doubt. I challenge anyone to tell me otherwise!
We have a number of boards that are ready to go, but generally, a JACK Snowboard will take 3/4 weeks to arrive from orders placed, because every board from the adults down to the smallest of kids sizes are individually hand crafted to perfection which all adds to the quality of the product that you will be purchasing.
In the very near future we will be looking into suitable retail outlets and other avenues of sale.
We ship worldwide as well as offering free UK delivery.
Where is your favourite place to ride?
Living and working on the south coast of England, my favourite shred places are the outdoor slopes of Snowtrax and Warmwell in Dorset and the indoor snowcentre at Hemel Hempstead.
Longer breaks are taken in Slovakia at the resort of Jasna whenever possible. It has so much to offer for everyone, including an awesome freestyle park for which my own 7 year daughter kicks ass on!
And finally, what are your plans for the future?
Whilst we are a new brand, we know we cannot run before we can walk.
The foundations we have in place are solid; we also know we have a tough road ahead to be accepted within the snowboarding world, but we believe we have a product that can stand alongside the very best brands on the market.
We will continue to build on our range of snowboards. And keep looking at the board designs and the specification that go into each JACK Snowboard.
Our primary aim is to get more kids into snowboarding, shake up the industry and show that the grom scene is growing and on the rise.
We want to put British snowboard manufacturing on the world map as the one of finest. We believe British hand crafted snowboards are a force to be fiercely proud of.